Category Archives: Screwed

The 4am Fog Walk

First off, congratulations to LTJ and Miss Possible on tying the knot yesterday.  A great time was had by all.  The weather cooperated for the most part and everything went off without a hitch.  I could go on at length about just how great everything was planned, but what I have to fill you in on is my 4am walk back to my hotel.  Due to some pre-planning mishaps, Swedish Girl and I ended up at a different hotel than the rest of the wedding party.  It would have been fine, except for the fact that it was across the street, beset by highway on-ramps and off-ramps on all sides, and devoid of sidewalks.

After the reception, Swedish Girl was all partied out, so we got her some quick food and she dropped me off at the wedding group’s hotel.  I knew that getting back to our hotel wasn’t going to be a breeze, but I figured I’d worry about that problem after a handful of beers.  I definitely did not regret the first half of the decision, as the beers were cold and we all laughed our asses off for a couple of hours.  When I checked the time, I was shocked to see that it was 4am already.  Swedish Girl had called me almost three hours earlier to find out when I’d be back and I had assured her then that it wouldn’t be long.

It was at this point that I probably would have been better served to just stay another 60 or 90 minutes until daybreak.  The walk back to my hotel was one of the most harrowing experiences I’ve ever been foolish enough to do.  It doesn’t compare to The Big Dig Story (to be included in my upcoming book), but it’s up there.  The distance was under a mile, but it was so dark and foggy that I thought for sure I was a sitting duck for oncoming cars.  The speed limit on that road was upwards of 40 to 45 MPH and I thanked the heavens above that only two or three cars passed me.  Close to half my walk was on the shoulder of the road and I soon realized one huge mistake.  I was still wearing a black tuxedo. 

Not great attire in fog so thick that I was swimming through it.  I considered holding my cell phone over my head as a beacon in the night, but didn’t want to kill the battery.  That’s when a decent idea came to mind – I removed my tuxedo jacket so that the bright white back of my vest would be seen in people’s headlights.  The whole walk was probably no more than 10 or 15 minutes, but felt like an hour.  I was so relieved to be back at the hotel that it felt like home sweet home.  And as Captain Larby mentioned in his best man speech, these types of things are par for the course when LTJ is involved.

Thank Goodness They Don’t Come in Threes

Today was just an odd day.  Slept in pretty late after a late night last night.  Got an even later start after my upstairs neighbors decided to shut off our water to do some impromptu plumbing work.  So, the day started off rocky, as I had to complain to the upstairs assholes and check with various other neighbors about possible recourse.  I thought I left the worst behind me once I left my cursed building.   Ha!  Not so.

As Swedish Girl and I were driving along the Expressway to Target, we saw a pigeon dart into traffic from an underpass.  At first, we thought it was just an overly aggressive city pigeon, but it flew lower in 60 MPH+ traffic than any other bird I’ve ever seen.  Not only that, but after it passed in front of one car, it dashed back and then we lost sight of it.  But only for a few moments.  The car in front of us slowed down and moved quickly to its right, but to no avail.  We saw the pigeon turn up under its driver’s side wheels.  I’m no fan of pigeons, but to see one commit suicide was pretty sad.

We shrugged it off, in time, and enjoyed our time at Target, Old Navy, TJ Maxx, Uno’s, and DSW, only to come upon strike 2.  As we were leaving the second mondo-plaza of the day (and enjoying the glow of a Celtics Game 7 victory), we were the third car in line at a dangerous intersection without lights.  This is the same intersection that I was pulled over once by Officer Beardface for driving too fast right through his half-hearted and half-assed hand signals.  Seargent Beardface chastised me, wagged his finger, and let me go with a warning.  Fitting, since he only logs about 4.5 hours per weekend and each weekend is witness to at least one collision.

The first car ahead of us pulled into traffic, only to be greeted by a visitor (at no less than 20 MPH) into its left fender.  There was a loud noise, the screaching of tires, and two plumes of smoke.  I remain doubtful that Officer Beardface (about 5 years past retirement, with a bright white beard about 0.5-inch longer than I’ve ever been able to grow) would have been able to prevent this collision had he been there.  Probably because he spends half his overtime shift nestled safely in the warm body of his gigantic SUV. 

Anyway, I yanked my wheel to the right and passed the stunned motorist in front of me, as he/she gawked at the accident before him/her.  I might have been the only one of us aware of the rotary just 500 meters ahead of us.  By the time I made the rotary turn and headed back homeward, I was a few football fields away before I saw the flashing blue lights of the law (Officer Beardface, perhaps?) in place to shut down an entire two lanes of Route 1.   I had beer and wine in my vehicle and was more than relieved to be just a few hundred meters from home.  All in all, it was a strange day, complete with bird suicide and a completely preventable two-car collision.  As I hoist this final beer of the weekend to my lips, I’ll give thanks that I made it through alive and in one piece.

Hello Pot? This is Kettle.

If you followed the news today about our dear President, you’d likely have noticed his sudden concern for the environment. He came out today insisting that 15 nations need to start to curb their greenhouse gas emissions over the next decare or so in order to help protect the environment.

In the same speech, he came out and said that the United States “takes this issue very seriously,” and that “…The way to meet this challenge of energy and global climate change is through technology, and the United States is in the lead.” This is news to me.

Considering that the rest of the world has been working to reduce carbon emissions since the 1997 Kyoto Agreement. President Bush has stated that he does not support the Kyoto agreement due to the exceptions granted to China (the second-largest producer of carbon emissions). The catch, is that both China and India have ratified the proposal but are not forced to comply in order to encourage the development of their emerging economies.

Today, he comes out and criticizes other country’s efforts in reducing emissions, but what has the United States done? President Bush has skirted the issue every which way, and his statements today are just another way get out of accepting the stricter German-led initiative that will be discussed at next week’s G8 Summit.

These 599 days can’t come quick enough.

A net loss

Today, my brother-in-law, Bubba, emailed me with this question: “What is humankind’s greatest contribution to earth?”

I paused for a moment or two and gave it some thought. Not surprisingly, I came up blank. It seemed to me that the only positive contributions on our part have been band-aids to fix the things that we’ve already destroyed. I thought for sure Bubba would come back with an answer, since he is an Environmental Science/Geology professional of sorts. But he drew a blank, too. That’s when Ray Manzarek’s organ intro and John Densmore’s high-hat started playing in my mind. The Doors’ ‘When the Music’s Over’ is about many things – anarchy, social unrest, death – but I’ve long held firm that it’s the first song to tackle the theme of environmentalism. I didn’t live through the 1960s, so I could be wrong. Maybe Country Joe & The Fish broached the subject. Maybe Peter, Paul & Mary did. However, I don’t recall ever hearing an environmental plea set to music until a friend turned me on to The Doors when I was 14 (Mike Dunlop, if you’re out there, drop me a line here on The Diatribe). Here’s the reply I wrote Bubba, which (pardon the egotism) I thought took care of my blog posting for tonight…

We cut down trees. We pave over grass. We eradicate the rain forests.
We eat or kill (for sport) every animal we find. We poison the soil.
We poison the water. We poison the sky. Listen to ‘When the Music’s
Over’ by The Doors. Jim Morrison wrote the first ever song about
environmental awareness (well, it includes a section about that topic
anyway).

What have they done to the earth?
What have they done to our fair sister?
Ravaged and plundered and ripped her and bit her
Stuck her with knives in the side of the dawn
And tied her with fences
And dragged her down!

Wronged

It’s Sunday evening and that would usually entitle me to a couple of frosty pops as I try my damndest to stave off the fast-approaching Monday work day.  But this Sunday evening, I’m knocking back the cold ones with a bit more intensity and fervor.  I’ve been wronged in one of the most egregious ways a man can be wronged.  I was the victim of a hit and run “accident.”  I walked out this afternoon to find that, while my car was parked on the street outside my apartment, someone had crashed into it.  No note.  No witnesses.  No hope.  I’m just now starting to break out of my day-long near-catatonic state.  I feel utterly and miserably maligned. 

It’s not even the $500 insurance deductible and the fact that I’m going to eat the cost of repairs.  It’s the fact that my beloved car is crumpled and someone out there got away with it.  It’s an awful feeling.  Something similar has happened to me before, but that doesn’t help make this any easier to swallow.  Nothing makes this easier to swallow.  It’s as if I left my poor, defenseless car out on the vicious jungle of a street and it was sodomized.  My car was sodomized and there’s nothing I can do about it.  Just an awful feeling. 

That birthday money I just got from my parents?  Oh, that’ll make a slight dent in my body work bill.  No fun purchases for Cool Jesus.  So, I’m here as the evening relays the baton to the nighttime and I’m relying on some good music to sooth my pain.  Happy birthday to me.

The Day They Killed Recess

My brother-in-law just forwarded me this article about a nearby town that decided to ban all contact during recess. Reading the article instantly sent me back to my halcyon recess days from first grade through fifth grade. Once we hit sixth grade, of course, our recess time was briefer and became more of a boy-chases-girl social setting than a time and place to get sweaty and dirty. It’s too bad these kids will never get to even play two-hand tag football during recess.

We used to play Killer Spud with raquet balls and tennis balls. We also played a game where some brave kid would run parallel to a brick wall and about 15-20 kids would get to pelt him with raquet/tennis balls. I don’t remember what we called this game, but running the wall was the only way you gained any respect in the schoolyard. And when it rained outside one day and we had recess in the gym, we made up a game called Footsweep. We’d run around at full speed, slide, and take someone’s legs out when they weren’t looking (because they were too busy frantically looking the other way for attacking Footsweepers). Naturally, we all got in trouble and Footsweep was banned. That’s when boys were boys.

Nobody broke any bones or lost any eyes playing Killer Spud, Footsweep, or almost-tackle football. We had fun, we let out all the stress from school, and we learned to toughen up and impress the girls who were always watching us. I feel bad for these kids that have to grow up in an over-protected world.

No More Nog?

It was good while it lasted. It all started yesterday with an innocent email mention, to some co-worker friends, that Starbucks is raising its prices in a week or so. That set off a string of emails that pissed all over my parade. I’ve mentioned my love for Starbucks’ egg nog lattes on The Diatribe more than once. I don’t even like that place in general. I’ll grab a cafe mocha (iced or hot) once in a while, but that’s it. However, come harvest time, when the days get colder and the nights get longer, I start thinking about finding the first local Starbucks selling ENLs.

Leave it to information hound and persistent party pooper Hardytrain to spoil my fun. Within moments of my mention of ENLs, he hit me right between the eyes with the (not so) nutritional information of my beloved ENL. It’s chock full of calories, fat calories, fat grams, saturated fat grams, cholesterol, sodium, carbohydrates, and sugar. The only silver lining was that there appear to be no trans fats; I’m guessing that might be because trans fat is man-made and used primarily in fried or processed foods, whereas the ENL is all natural.

I was seriously bummed out. My pre-yesterday dream plans had me consuming an ENL per day (and I’m talking venti here) and sometimes two on Saturdays. Now I’m going to have to try to be responsible and stick to one or two per week. Either that, or I can stick to my original ENL consumption plan and just eat spinach every day. Wait…what? What’s that you say about spinach?

Ripped off and pissed off

I may not have mentioned this before, but Swedish Girl has a penchant for cheap eats. Don’t get me wrong, she loves fine dining, but she’s strangely fond of dives like IHOP. I’ve tried to put my foot down several times, but we keep finding ourselves at IHOP. The one in my old neighborhood is filled with thugs, punks, crying babies, angry waitresses, annoyed patrons, and after sitting in maple syrup for the last time, I think I’m safe from ever having to go back there. But that only means more trips to Bickford’s! Yeah for me. While in my old neighborhood yesterday, Swedish Girl had a hankering for breakfast and we found ourselves in a marginally more civilized version of IHOP.

We walked in to find the place empty, save for one table of diners, so I thought we were in good shape. I couldn’t have been more wrong. The teenage waitress, Marie, was a nightmare. From the opening bell, we were in for trouble. The glass of water she brought Swedish Girl had some black specks in it. Strike 1. I encouraged Swedish Girl to ask for another glass. Afterall, why put up with that nonsense, right? Next, she brought my sandwich without the fries that come with it. Strike 2. It took me 10 minutes to get that rectified. Then, the cranberry sauce (Cool Jesus can’t live without cranberry sauce, soy sauce, and garlic powder) was left off my hot turkey sandwich. Strike 3. That was a quick fix, but her spit might have been consealed within. Once all this was taken care of, I had to ask for my raspberry iced tea that I had ordered 25 minutes earlier. Strike 4. With each request, this girl was getting more and more exasperated. And that’s putting it kindly. Her short “okay” retorts were sufficiently vicious. “Can I get anything else for you?” No, Marie, you’ve done quite enough already.

I won’t really call this strike 5, but Marie put so much whipped cream on Swedish Girl’s strawberry pancakes, that one would have thought that Swedish Girl requested extra, extra, super duper, keep it coming whipped cream. I asked her to scoop all the excess right onto the table so Marie would have to clean it up, but she wouldn’t do it. Eventually, we finished our food, Marie’s spit and all, and got the check. By my calculations, lovely Marie overcharged us by over $5. Strike 5. Taking my life into my hands, I brought this to Marie’s attention and asked her to double-check it for me. My stupid error was to also leave the money on the table, which she grabbed, returned with our “change,” and told me she was right all along. I should have pressed further, but I backed down. I regret it still. We should have left no tip or a teeny tiny tip, since she already pocketed a sweet tip by overcharging us, but I broke down and left a borderline standard tip (a shade less than 15%, but if you factor in what she stole from us, she made out with over 40%).

We couldn’t approach the manager, because he looked to be no more than a couple of years older than Marie, in addition to looking pretty chummy with her. We knew he’d side with her. I regret not leaving a pocket change tip, but I had the opening sequence from Reservoir Dogs racing through my head, not to mention The Incident. Cool Jesus has zero luck with waitresses. Thanks for letting me rant. I’m off to Arbie’s!